Vera-Cruz, with a cargo of specie, bound to any port in Spain which they could fetch, and now steering to the south-east with the wind right aft.
Regardless of the apparent odds against her, the Naiad continued the pursuit under all sail, and, at 3 h. 30 m. a.m.,* on the 16th, discovered a third large ship in the south-west ; which soon made herself known as the 38-gun frigate Ethalion, Captain James Young, and who, bearing up, joined in the chase. Just as the day broke the British 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Alcmène, Captain Henry Digby, joined from the westward ; and shortly afterwards the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Triton, Captain John Gore, made her appearance astern.
At 7 a.m. the two Spanish frigates, for their safety, took different routes : on which Captain Pierrepoint, who was the senior officer, directed the leading British frigate, the Ethalion, to pass the sternmost frigate, and stand on for the headmost, which was the Thetis. At 9 a.m. the Ethalion, being within random-shot of the Santa-Brigida, fired a few guns at her in passing, and compelled her to steer a course still further from her consort. The Ethalion then, as she had been ordered, continued in chase of the Thetis, and owing to her good sailing gained upon her so, that at 11 h. 30 m. a.m. the Thetis, having no other alternative, bore up athwart the bows of the Ethalion, at the distance of only half musket-shot. The British frigate quickly wore, and bestowed upon her opponent two well-directed broadsides. At length, after a running fight of one hour, in which the Ethalion had not a man hurt, and the Thetis no more than one killed and nine wounded, the latter hauled down her colours.
The Thetis had on board specie to the following amount 333 boxes containing each 3000 dollars, four boxes containing each 2385 dollars, 93 boxes containing each 4000 dollars, one box containing, besides 4000 dollars, two doubloons and 90 half-doubloons, of gold ; making, altogether, 1,385,292 dollars, equal, at 4s. 6d. the dollar, to £311,690 sterling.
The Santa-Brigida, when she altered her course, as related above, bore up to the southward, and, early on the morning of the 17th, † succeeded by her fast sailing in rounding Cape Finisterre. To accomplish this, the Santa-Brigida had run so close to the rocks off Monte Lora, that at 5 a.m. the Triton, who was the first in pursuit, and, then going at the rate of seven knots, struck upon them. The Triton, however, soon got off ; and at 7 a.m. commenced an animated fire at the Spanish frigate ; the Alcmène doing the same, and steering so as to cut
* The gazette-account is rendered somewhat obscure by this being made p.m.
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